Gold for Martin Fourcade…Finally!
|14.02.2013, Nove Mesto na Morave / IBU Info JK|
|One Penalty, But a Victory|
|France’s Martin Fourcade won his first Gold medal of these 2013 IBU World Championships, by taking the men’s 20K individual, with one penalty, in 49:43. Fourcade now has three Silver medals and one Gold medal. Second went to the surprising Tim Burke of the USA, also with one penalty, 23.5 seconds back.Third went to Fredrik Lindstrom of Sweden, with one penalty, 33.7 seconds back.
Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic finished fourth, with two penalties, 48.6 seconds back. Fifth went to Lindstrom’s teammate Bjorn Ferry, with one penalty, 1:11.8 back while Fourcade’s brother Simon finished was sixth, with one penalty, 1:18.4 back.
The men got a bit lucky for their competition, compared to the women last night. There was not further snow today, light winds, and a bit warmer temperatures. Other than slightly soft snow, the conditions for this long distance competition were perfect. One person was missing; Emil Hegle Svendsen was out with a cold and replaced by his young teammate, Henrik L’Abee Lund.
Hofer, Lindstrom …and Fourcade
From the outset, Italy’s Lukas Hofer looked like potential medalist, cleaning the first three stages efficiently and skiing fast. Unfortunately, he missed two shot in the final standing stage and fell out of contention for a medal. That seemed to be a pattern, as the fastest men missed one or two shots and fell out of contention. Then there was Fourcade who skiing a bit faster, shooting with confidence and cleaning one, two, three stages with ease. Lindstrom was doing the same, as L’Abee Lund. After three stages, it was Fourcade, Hofer, L’Abee Lund, and Lindstrom. Lindstrom missed a shot in the final standing stage, then a minute later Fourcade did the same, but his superior skiing gave him a 33 second lead over the young Swedish star. The Norwegian came in next, had two penalties and fell out of contention for a medal.
Burke to Podium
While the focus was on this group of men, Moravec was crafting a strong performance, he had a penalty in the first prone and then stayed clean for the next two stages. Although he had another penalty in the final standing stage, the local hero moved into third position just behind Lindstrom after the final standing stage. Burke was having his best day since being on the podium back in December at Pokljuka. Three clean stages put him just 11 seconds behind Fourcade and in the medal hunt. Like many of his rivals, Burke had a penalty, but left ahead of Lindstrom as he headed for the final loop. At this point, it was all skiing that would probably determine the final podium spots.
Second-ever Medal for USA
Burke flew around the last loop and came home in second place, giving the USA only its second World Championships medal ever; the first by Josh Thompson in 1987, also in the 20K. That set the podium with Lindstrom taking the Bronze, just ahead of Moravec.
Electricity in the Air
Fourcade felt it was his day for Gold from the time he got up in the morning. "I was confident from morning. There was a lot of electricity in the air...I was so focused. I knew that I just had to listen and follow my body. I watched the Alpine skiing today and saw a countryman win the Gold and thought, 'It is a good day for French skiing today.' It was good day for me."
Hitting 19-of-20, he admitted the shooting was easy. "It was easy to shoot well. I love these easy conditions when a lot of people can shoot well...as far as the one miss; it was just a part of biathlon. Then, I gave my best in last lap."
After the Pursuit
Burke found it hard to figure out what was different from his 32nd in the pursuit on Sunday. "I only know that today I felt good. I thought my championships were over after the pursuit on Sunday. I felt so bad."
Waiting My Whole Life
He was not so sure of a medal during the last loop, knowing that Lindstrom was a fast skier. "I was not thinking so much about a medal. I was just trying to go as hard as possible." On winning the second-ever medal for the USA, he added, "I have been waiting my whole life for this; it is really special, but I think it will take a couple of days to sink in."
Lindstrom claimed the second medal of his career and said, "I am so happy with this medal... I did not feel that good on the track today but after three times zero, I had to give everything on the last loop."